Product Type: Ubisoft Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... better but its best left as is. Your craft has a set amount of HP that diminishes when attacked and announces percentages of health remai... more
Armored Core: For Answer (Xbox 360)
Member Name: AverageJoseph
Armored Core: For Answer (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Customisable, Missions, Briefings, Graphics
Disadvantages: Cooperative, Music, Story, Length, 'Hard Mode'
Massive mechanical machines with equally massive selections of purchasable, acquirable add ons fly and fight through levels of other machines doing the exact same. Sounds pretty hectic but I assure its often not that exciting. The long going series made by 'FromSoftware' has seen mostly graphical upgrades across the years along with further personal touches and achievements, but does 'For Answer' stand out from the numbered series? Its possibly the most customisable game available on both PS3 & Xbox 360, rated 12, its... alright.
Throughout the campaign of the game are chapters which are introduced with short clips and narration concerning the past and future for the inhabitants of the planet. The planet in question (possibly earth) used to be populated by humans but made inhospitable due to a war involving 'NEXTs' the mechanical crafts which you operate through he game, and their polluting exhausts contaminating the earth. Humans were relocated to the 'Cradles' which fly high up on the edge of the worlds atmosphere, containing 100's of millions of lives. Your job is as a NEXT pilot (a LYNX) is to take up freelance work from rivalling companies (offering different missions and compensation) to do their bidding on the surface. Its not exactly explained as to what you are fighting for down there but its speculated that you're fighting to aid the effort of decontaminated the planet or acquiring its resources. The game revolves around the optional missions and main ones, but also features an 'arena' side-quest where you take on a list of 20 AI NEXTS one by one, gaining credits and parts of blue prints for the competing crafts so that one day when you collect them all, you may piece them together yourself.
This is often the stumbling block for casual gamers because the controls are quite different from your average fighting game. The triggers act boosters to hover and fly about while the bumpers alternate weapons and buttons fire them. Of course this can all be changed in the settings to suit you better but its best left as is. Your craft has a set amount of HP that diminishes when attacked and announces percentages of health remaining as you accumulate more damage. Depending on your preference (or in game bank balance of credits) your weaponry and energy make change. You can use chargeable lasers, gatling guns, rifles, homing missiles, 'primal armour' or standard rockets. The energy levels which keep your craft flying or boosting along also alter depending on the weight and load (if you have say, duel bazookas and high strength appendages, you'll be slow and consume energy faster). Before choosing to partake in levels you are given a briefing as to what you must accomplish, destroy so and so, reach a destination, protect whatshisface or better yet, destroying an armoured fort (AF). These briefings can be extremely detailed or stupidly blase', lacking any attention to detail or mention of risks. Some levels allow for shared opportunities with AI who help out in battle (the better the companion, the bigger split in payment). My favourite parts of the game were spent in the garage, fixin' up ma' NEXT, thinking of silly names to give it, slapping on a new coat of paint or buying new, bigger weapons - because the levels are few in number, lacking inspiration and sometimes headache inducing, so the tuning and tinkering of machinery bits and bobs was a refreshing break.
In levels, the camera is in a 3rd person perspective, behind your craft and scrolls around occasionally as you make sharp turns. At the top of the screen you see your compas and map, which display distant enemies, teammates, non combatants and depth of field in relation to them. The design of the menus, levels and characters really look sharp and clean most of the time. The menus and loading screens in particular look like genuine company adverts for their hardware as they display their newest models with various details, manufacturers and interesting craft/pilot names. The lack of seeing any human characters means that there is a fair bit left to the imagination (with some rather on/off voice acting) as its easy enough to say that a mechanical craft looks real since its a load of metal and weaponry stuck together. That said, the look and detail on your NEXT's is believable.. you know if mechs really did roam about shooting the crap out of everything. Levels are satisfactory with destructible buildings, enemy subs, aircrafts and ground units, changing weather and various surroundings. There are a couple of FMV's showing off at the beginning and end, a bit of a fad with makers 'FromSoftware' as they did this with previous AC installments and even the painfully difficult but rewarding 'Dark Souls'.
This is by far the most promising and rewarding aspect of the game. To start you must make use of standard default items for your mech or 'NEXT', chop and changing practically everything like left/right weapons, head, arms, legs, torso, left/right shoulders, engine, booster and further enhancements inside. Things can get really technical and anal as you can alter the weight distributions, centre of gravity and final statistics of your machine with the following parameters considered: load capacity,
energy output, maneuverability, stability, accuracy, turn speed, radar range, missile lock, thrust, armour and ECM.. whatever the hell that is. However its not just the nuts and bolts that make your craft as specific as possible, you can even sort out the appearance. Choose from themes, logos, patterns.. or go all out and make your own! Put together your own crest from a library of badges and images, make your mech look as badass as possible or make it bright lightning pink with a smiley face on it. So this side of the game is super nerdy, but honestly, in the heat of battles and stressful missions.. half the tweaking and fiddling seems to lack any sufficient change.
My main reason for purchasing this game was because it offered a cooperative mode online as well as having some knowledge of the PS2 Armoured Core game 'Nine-Breaker'. Knowing it was heavily customizable and techy, It was worth a shot until I realised that the Coop mode was the same as the single player and that in general, was almost pointless. The levels can only be played when both players have already completed the level - kind of defeating the point there as gamers cannot help each other - offering no new experiences or added difficulty due to the handicap. Online Multiplayer battles are similar to the campaigns ai fights, except you take on personally made mechs from other gamers in plain environments like deserts and little islands which is somehow a glitchy experience as you and your foe lag a lot and make for a incomprehensible fight. Half of the trophies/achievements are ridiculously unoriginal too with tasks of winning upwards of 1000 fights as well as managing 1000 kills (they go from 1000-10000).
Music & Sound Effects
Of course in any game where giant robots fire bullets, lasers and rockets at each other, the majority of which is the standard sound you'd expect whilst the bullets and firing is as real as you can imagine. The dialogue that pops up occasionally is fairly competent in places, such as the briefings, narration and interceptions of conversations. However, get damaged, die or come across more plot development in levels and you'll be let down by the over the top voice acting, annoying warnings and 'insults'. The music is standard too, typical, techno Japanese drivel that is barely noticeable during levels. The menu screen songs are however atmospheric and broody when building your machines, checking out level details and reminiscing on your grades for previous levels - which ascend through E,D,C,B,A and S.
After completing every level including the optional ones, this game rapidly gathered dust on my shelf as the only thing thats left is the mind numbingly boring multiplayer achievements and the lame AI upgrades found in 'Hard Mode' - basically its the same levels only slightly harder and the end of levels are signalled by your operator screaming "Oh no its an enemy NEXT! Get out of there!" Yawn - Unoriginal. Still, its a different game than your average run of the mill shooter and offers thousands of different, if trivial, singularities.
Summary: Nerdy Custom Mechs and stuff..